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Microsoft is not quite Vista Capable

In a private e-mail made public this week as part of a court proceeding, a Microsoft general manager said his company lowered the PC minimum requirements for running its Windows Vista operating system so that Intel graphics chips could be used in systems sold as “Vista Capable.”

The e-mail surfaced after it was entered into crucial evidence in a class action lawsuit that accuses the Vista software maker of deceptive marketing practices. The plaintiffs allege that Microsoft intentionally duped customers by advertising as Vista Capable computers that lacked the power to run all of the operating features.

“In the end, we lowered the requirement to help Intel make their quarterly earnings so they could continue to sell motherboards with 915 graphics embedded,” the e-mail stated by John Kalkman.

Microsoft is a long time partner with Intel and it made the critical modification so that the chip maker could meet its quarterly earnings in 2006. The date of the e-mail was February 26, 2007, a month after Vista debuted.

The graphics chipset in question is the Intel 915 series that can boost a system’s ability to display multimedia effects. However, it does not support Vista’s 3-D ‘Aero’ interface.

Mike Nash, Windows product manager, addressed concerns in another e-mail, “I personally got burned by the Intel 915 chipset issue on a laptop that I personally,” and added, “I now have a $2,100 e-mail machine.”

Another e-mail was discovered by Microsoft senior VP Steven Sinofsky to company CEO Steve Ballmer unveiling deep concerns about the Intel 915 chipset’s required ability to run any version of Vista.

“The 915 chipset, which is not Aero capable, is in a huge number of laptops and was tagged as ‘Vista Capable’ but not Vista Premium. I don’t know if this was a good call,” Sinofsky said.

So, what we know to this point, is that there were obvious reasons why Vista robbed Peter to pay Paul.